Is it possible? Is Clay Buchholz all “growsed” up?
It’s certainly sounding like it after another strong spring outing by the confident young right-hander. And with less competition in camp this spring, the 25-year-old has his mind set on finally earning a regular spot in Boston’s starting rotation.
“Last year I sort of knew that I didn’t have a spot coming into Spring Training, because we had Smoltzie and BP in front of me,” Buchholz said. “So it was a little different. But at the same time, I’m preparing the same, going out and trying to do the things that I work on out of the game, and I’m trying to bring them into the game. So I feel the same. It’s the same goal to break camp with the team, and that’s going to remain my goal for the duration of Spring Training. But nothing really different about it.”
This sounds like a different Buchholz from the guy who admitted frustration at being stuck in the minors last season.
Instead, he sounds determined to win a starting spot for the long term and not just until Daisuke Matsuzaka returns to full health. Maybe he will finally get a chance to live up to the promise he showed so spectacularly with a no-hitter back in 2007.
And whether he sticks long term or not, it seems likely he’ll cease to be the constant subject of trade rumors. Unless, you know, a certain basher in the Pacific time zone becomes available. Then all bets are off.
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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.
The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.
Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.